It’s bad news for the Yellowstone in Season 5, Episode 7, as the Duttons may lose all of their cattle. Unless a deal can be struck with the 6666, that is.
As “The Dream Is Not Me” rolls on, the entirety of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch continues to move their cattle. But when Lloyd, Walker, Jake, and Kayce Dutton all find stillborn bison calves in Dutton pastures, their “perfect” gathering takes a dark turn.
As each Yellowstone cowboy reports the stillborn bison to John, he knows what it is immediately: brucellosis. And this bacterial disease is about as bad as it gets. Highly transmissible, brucellosis affects all bovines (bison, cattle, etc) and shuts down their bodies. Once a herd in Montana gets it, the state kills the entirety of that herd to prevent further spread. It’s that bad.
So Season 5, Episode 7 finds John in his biggest bind. He has his Yellowstone herd insured, sure, but there’s no way to “rebuild one-hundred years of genetics” if they all get killed by the state he is now governor of. Instead, John moves to separate the herd and take some south to warmer pastures. He’s got to lease masses of land to do so, however, which is as expensive as it sounds. When the patriarch breaks the bad news to his daughter, Beth, he reveals exactly how expensive: $1.4 million a month.
Could Beth Dutton + Texas’ 6666 = Save the Yellowstone?
Beth can’t accept this. The Dutton Ranch hasn’t turned a profit in years, and her father wants to spend millions a month to babysit their cattle on someone else’s land? Inconceivable! So the Dutton daughter starts asking the right questions, and learns their cattle will only be worth $1.50 a pound max if they sell them. “Dad, a good steak is $30,” she tells her father. “Hell, shitty ground beef is $5.”
Moral of the story? “We’re in the wrong business,” Beth decides. As she storms out on account of John’s stubbornness, John makes a call.
Unbeknownst to him, Beth does the same outside on the front porch. She’s looking up ranch-to-beef models, and sure enough, Texas’ 6666, the Four Sixes, is what she finds – resulting in the first mention of this historic Texas ranch in Yellowstone Season 5.
In reality, 6666 is the largest ranch in Texas. And as of 2022, Taylor Sheridan now owns and sells beef from this very ranch. How’s that for marketing?
In Yellowstone, however, it’s the ranch where John Dutton sent Jimmy Hurdstrom to learn how to be a cowboy in Season 4. Which should, so far as we know, result in a Paramount Network spinoff sometime in the future.
Bet talks through their business model briefly with 6666, or Four Sixes, in Episode 7 before presenting it to her father. Coincidentally, we find out later that the Four Sixes is who John called first, too. After these two finally discuss this, it starts to look a whole lot like this whole ‘selling beef’ idea is how Yellowstone will tie Jimmy’s Texas story – and the Four Sixes – back into the show. If Beth can convince her father to go through with it all, that is.
In short, their exchange opens up a new plan to save the Yellowstone: start selling beef, not cattle.
Yet we’ve been here before. Remember that whole horse cutting storyline so deeply threaded into Yellowstone Season 4? John Dutton was determined to breed and sell horses to make millions, and he was to do so through 6666‘s Travis Wheatley, played by none other than Taylor Sheridan – all while Jimmy learned to be a real
This storyline was dropped, though, and it’s back to cattle full force in Season 5. While this does create a huge plot hole, it’s also just… Life. As an Outsider with a father who very much resembled John Dutton, I can tell you that men of this make start and drop a thousand projects. It’s how you find the one that sticks. And if Beth gets ahold of this latest “beef over cattle” model, then chances are it’s the one that will stick.
We’ll surely be back on the Four Sixes as a result, and that Jimmy Hurdstrom-led 6666 spinoff is looking a whole lot more likely once more.
Yellowstone returns Jan. 1, 2023 for the midseason finale exclusively on Paramount Network.